A Worldwide Poutine Mission
Smoke’s Poutinerie started in Ontario, Canada, in 2009 with a plan to take Canadian iconic dish to the rest of the world. In the 9 years since opening, Smoke’s now has over 100 locations throughout the U.S. and Canada, with plans to expand globally, already signing deals in the Middle East.
The restaurant is the first of its kind—a poutine-centric restaurant specializing in three things: squeaky cheese curds from Quebec, fresh, hand-cut fries, and homemade, signature gravy. Smoke’s poutine dishes offer a plethora of ingredients from around the world for those with adventurous palates. Menu options include Bacon Cheeseburger, Butter Chicken, and Mexican Scrambler poutines, just to name a few.
Started by an 80’s lover, Ryan Smolkin, the decade’s signature pop culture surges throughout the restaurant’s branding making it a fun, party-like atmosphere. The energetic rock music and punchy red & plaid fits perfectly with Smoke’s primary audience of 18–25 year olds, fixated on offering ultimate daytime and late-night feast to follow a night on the town.
Smoke’s Poutinerie Global Headquarters provided franchisees a spreadsheet template, showing them how to create a schedule. While the system incorporated a lot of the same principle functions, there’s no question this has become the old-school method.
Moving to a fully automated system, 7shifts has saved our franchisees a considerable amount of time managing their sales forecasts, labor allotment, and scheduling. - Ryan Smolkin, Chief Entertainment Officer, Smoke’s Poutinerie Inc.
Smoke’s Poutinerie labor percentages were consistent prior to 7shifts, but admittedly has always been intensive and time consuming to manage every week. 7shifts now allows the franchisees to visually see labor target bar graphs based on hours and time scheduled, making it easier than ever to cut or add hours. This ensures max efficiency during peak business periods.
Jason Evanochko is a Smoke’s franchisee and got into the poutine business because he was looking to open his own restaurant in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. His partner mentioned the city was missing a poutine spot, but it wasn’t until Jason read an article in The Globe and Mail about Smoke’s that he was intrigued. “I inquired about it and very quickly thought it was a great idea. We flew to Toronto, checked it out, and joined the team right after. It was a pretty quick process after we jumped on board,” says Jason.
Before 7shifts, Jason allowed his staff to openly trade shifts with each other and just asked them to write a note on the schedule. Although this worked with the small staff the majority of the time, there were still no-shows and employees that missed shifts due to miscommunication. 7shifts has reduced those problems with in-app communication tools and mobile shift trading - a big bonus is Jason now has less phone calls and less stress about it.
“It has 100% reduced no-shows. Employees can’t say they didn’t see the schedule anymore when they have it on their phones,” - Jason Evanochko, Smoke’s Poutinerie Saskatoon Franchisee
Cathy Hudson, a franchisee owner of two Smoke’s Poutinerie locations in Winnipeg, is also a fan of 7shifts and uses it in both of her locations. Cathy was using her POS system to schedule, which meant printing the schedule off, scanning it, and emailing it to employees. She would take at least 3 hours to create the schedule. “It would be really hard because I had a separate binder for employee requests. If I didn’t have the binder with me when I created the schedule, employees would later tell me they had the day booked off. Then I was left juggling,” recalls Cathy.
“7shifts has saved me time building the schedule, holds the employees accountable, and now I have better communication with my staff. That’s what 7shifts has given me,” - Cathy Hudson, Smoke’s Poutinerie Winnipeg Franchisee
“I think a lot of people need to take a look at 7shifts. Anything you can do to streamline operations and save franchisees money is a huge win, and 7shifts nails both!” - Ryan Smolkin, Chief Entertainment Officer, Smoke’s Poutinerie Inc.